by Karl Schnelle
Dr Horst Macalka published a great series of Catalogue Corners in the print version of MAR. He wrote about many different toy car companies over many issues. Since then, I have been documenting the Märklin RAK series at HobbyDB, so I decided it was time for an updated Catalog Corner. Horst wrote about all Märklin auto catalogs from 1935 to 1972 (MAR, No 67, Nov/Dec 1992, p 3374) that he had in his collection, but I will cover only the newer RAK series from 1968 to 1975.
[Click photos to enlarge.]
Märklin RAK were mostly German cars from the 1960s and 70s, race cars, sports cars, and sedans. The casting were very precise and reminded me of their diecast HO train engines of the period. Most had opening doors and came in various colors. Not much documentation about the series is available except for an excellent booklet in German (2001) with all the details. The hardcopy MAR also had a short article about them years ago written by me (MAR, No 39 Extra, 1989)!
The oldest catalog I have is from 1968 (above) when the RAK series was introduced. The cover shows the #1810 Porsche 910, and it opens from the top. The 12-p catalog has the older 8000 range of cars and trucks in the back half. This copy is all in English. At the back, 1800, 1803 ,and 1811 are listed as coming shortly. So the RAK series must not have been introduced in numerical order. That seems strange to me. 1805 is the lowest number in this first catalog.
The catalog with the 1802 Chaparral 2F on the cover is in German with DM prices but has no date or Märklin part number as the other catalogs do. Since 1802 is marked Neu (New) inside the catalog, it has to be late 1968. Half the contents are Mercury model cars from Italy; they were imported by Märklin into Germany at this time. Soft rubber tires are shown as in the earlier 1968 catalog. The catalog is a fan-fold style.
Then, for 1969, a large ‘psychedelic’ catalog was issued with five abstract speeding cars on the cover. Dated by the part number on the back, it opens from the top and is also a fan-fold. Both front and back are shown above. Five models are marked as new this time and my copy is in English. The Hot Wheels revolution has caught up to even Märklin by now and two of the five new cars are shown with hard plastic whizzwheels. The rac name is also used on the cover for the first time, rac with a c! The old 8000 series of trucks is still shown on the other side.
The 1970 catalog returns to the smaller size of the very first catalog and is in five languages. It is dated by the part number on the back and has the 1815 Porsche 907 on the cover. The rac name is now spelled rak with a k! It opens from the left and shows actual photos of five cars to be released in 1970.
The 1971 example (above) is also in five languages but is sized like the Matchbox, Dinky, and Corgi catalogs of the time. Two cars are on the cover with the large 4-door BMW 2500 crash-landing on top of the Mercedes C111!!! Three models are listed as new for 1971 and are shown with photos again of the actual cars.
The 72 catalog that I have is a small tri-fold thing with one side covered with all the models. The back shows Mercury 1:43 “Märklin -Import”. My copy is German only and prices in DM.
1973 returns to the larger, more-colorful format but is still a tri-fold design. Sadly no new models are shown. The inside is a similar matrix design like 72 of all the models, but the other side has a lot of marketing talk in 5 languages: “The raks of the famous 1800 series are displaying their amazing true-to-life characteristics, their beauty, and their extras!” Translation at its best! 🙂
The next to last one, ’74 (above), is also a tri-fold but opens the other direction, left-to-right. The exact same marketing lingo is present. No new issues are marked.
And finally, the last catalog from ’75 is a multi-fold poster style with lots of Mercury cars and motorcycles. All in German and still no new models.
The large Märklin train catalogs from the same years also showed the RAK series. After 1975, the RAK series disappeared from those catalogs as well. Some RAK models were reissued over time after 1975, but I have seen no catalogs since the ’75 example above. If any readers have any other RAK catalogs, please let MAR Online know!
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